February 22nd, 2016 by Stinkhead
I had the pleasure of speaking with Monster Jam Zombie driver Bari Musawwir late last week. We’re gearing up for Monster Jam’s descent on Baltimore this weekend, and we wanted to get to know one of the drivers better. Click below as we pick Bari’s braaaaaaains.
One of our favorite trucks is Zombie. I don’t know if it’s the exposed brains, or the rubber outstretched arms, but we love watching Zombie take to the pit and terrorize the other trucks. Believe it of not, Bari got his big break after falling in love with hobby-grade RC cars and practicing with them. He went on to win Monster Jam’s 2011 Rookie of the Year and the first-ever Young Guns Shoot-Out at the 2012 World Finals, and now he’s driving Zombie on the Monster Jam east coast tour.
We asked Bari how it all started. He told us that he first saw Monster Jam at the Pontiac Silver Dome when he was six years old. As he got older he started messing around with RC trucks and eventually got into the larger hobby-grade RC cars. Monster Jam’s Bill Easterly noticed Bari’s skills with his modified Tamiya Clodbuster RC truck at Digger’s Dungeon (home of Grave Digger) and asked him if he ever thought about being a real Monster Jam truck driver. He said if he could do that with an RC, he could drive monster truck. A year or so later he was training at Monster Jam University in Paxton, Illinois. After a few more years he premiered driving Backwards Bob in Panama.
Musawwir’s signature move is the Zombie arm wave, so look out for that this weekend in Baltimore, and on Fox Sports One. Bari loves interacting with the fans, as young and old will tell him what they want to see. They all love when one of the arms or other zombie body parts on the truck gets damaged and falls off and Bari is happy to see it too. The biggest disappointment however is mechanical failure that would prevent a performance, but they’ve been real lucky this season so far.
The other thing to really look out for this weekend is his friendly rivalry with Grave Digger. Digger is Zombie’s closest point competitor right now, so Bari is keeping a dismembered eye on Digger’s progress, and hopes to keep him in his place.
What words of encouragement does Bari have for young Monster Jam fans that want to follow in his footsteps and eventually find themselves behind the wheel of a 10,000 pound monster truck? “It’s really important to pay attention in school, listen to your parents and teachers” Bari tells us. Right now Bari lives in Orlando FL with his family, where his two year old is in love with watching his dad drive Zombie on TV.
It’s not too late to join in the action, tickets are available for Monster Jam this weekend in Baltimore. Swing by MonsterJam.com for more tickets and tour dates.
Check out our prior Monster Jam coverage here.